Courage : Eight Portraits

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What is it that makes some men and women take difficult decisions and do the right thing against the odds when easier and far less dangerous alternatives are open to them? Why is it that some people - like the undercover heroes working for SOE in Occupied France or the passengers of the United 93 flight on 9/11 - have the courage to dare? To answer these questions, Gordon Brown explores the lives of eight outstanding twentieth-century figures. Starting with Edith Cavell, who nursed the wounded of World War I in Belgium and helped Allied soldiers escape back to England, he goes on to consider the Protestant pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who in 1940 returned to Nazi Germany from New York to lead the Christian opposition against the Nazi regime, and the wealthy businessman Raoul Wallenberg, who left neutral Sweden in 1944 to go to Budapest to try save the lives of Hungarian Jews. All three paid the ultimate price. Telling the stories of America's Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy - who, after his brother's assassination, remade himself as a politician of compassion - and Nelson Mandela, he considers great courage over a long period against daunting odds. And then there is the legacy of Dame Cicely Saunders, who changed the way we care for the dying by founding and leading the Hospice Movement. Finally, he explores the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, who for twenty years, much of that time under house arrest in Rangoon, has led her country's democratic opposition to military dictatorship, and continues to do so today. These eight heroes are very different people, with very different strengths and frailties, but all share an inspirational courage that Gordon Brown celebrates in these fascinating and moving more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 32mm | 3,138.89g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 0747565325
  • 9780747565321
  • 1,770,612

Review quote

'This approach is refreshing and is honoured in the biographical essays, which are readable and intelligent ... That on Bonhoeffer is excellent' Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times 'very moving and completely uncynical' Philip Gould, Guardian 'We see a politician in a stable, democratic country looking with envious awe on those who live in more difficult times - the countries that need heroes' Anne McElvoy, Evening Standardshow more

About Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown was born (1951) and educated in Kirkcaldy. He studied at Edinburgh University from the age of 16 and graduated with Master of Arts at 19 with 1st Class Honours, later gaining a Doctorate of Philosophy. He was elected Rector of Edinburgh University by the student body and from 1972 to 1975 was Chairman of the University Court. From 1976 to 1980, he lectured at Edinburgh University and then Glasgow College of Technology, before taking up a post at Scottish TV. From 1983-1984 he was Chair of the Labour Party Scottish Council and in May 1983 became MP for Dunfermline East. He was Opposition spokesperson on Treasury and Economic Affairs (Shadow Chancellor) from 1992. With the election of the Labour government in May 1997, Gordon Brown became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and held the post for ten years, making him the longest serving Chancellor for 200 years. Following the resignation of Tony Blair, he became Prime Minister in June 2007. He is married to Sarah Macaulay and they have two more

Rating details

48 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 8% (4)
4 48% (23)
3 42% (20)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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